The End of Science Fiction by Harshitha
Because we have three people, it was immensely difficult to divide the poem in a logical way. We looked at the third and fourth stanzas and noticed that it seems like a conversation, so we divided it to make it appear to be a real discussion. We tried to avoid having people speak in the same order, or pattern, to make it appear more spontaneous and less scripted. We also made sure that no one person spoke for too long at once, so that it didn't become a speech made by one individual. For the first and second stanzas, we changed the tone of some of the lines to improve the flow of the conversation; for example, we changed the tone of a sentence to be a question, because that interpretation of the line contributed to our reading of the poem.
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The poem's theme is that people now and in the future are too immersed in technology to really communicate with each other, hearing each other through water. As technology advances, people become so detached that they do not have real meaning in life, and everything is too easy. This is why a rediscovery of imagination, fantasy, and stories is needed. This poem makes a point that science fiction usually makes: it's difficult to not lose our humanity in the midst of all the advancements in technology. Science and technology are not the only things that matter. Simpler things, and more human things, are still needed no matter what, especially because we don't know what the effects of this Age will be. Our division of this poem portrayed the exchange that people may have when they reach this realization and think that a step back is necessary.
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One of the most significant lines in this poem was: "Both hands are stopped at noon. We are beginning to live forever, in lightweight, aluminum bodies with numbers stamped on our backs. We dial our words like Muzak. We hear each other through water." This says that our biological clocks no longer tick, and we don't even die anymore. We live in aluminum bodies, with numbers stamped on our backs, like products of an assembly line, without any individuality. Also, a previous line stated that we "cannot stop [our] computers." In the first stanza, it seems that this means we cannot stop the computers that we built from taking over; this is the plot of many science fiction stories. However, this second stanza line lends a whole new meaning to that line: perhaps we are the computers, and we cannot stop our transformation. Muzak is elevator music, so we have become very ordinary. We hear each other as if through water, when speaking unintelligibly on the phone, or texting, or through social media; we don't interact face-to-face. This stanza drives home the impact of how humans have stopped interacting because of technology. As a previous line says, "This is not fantasy. This is our life." These lines show exactly what we will become if we do not step away and act like the messy, imperfect humans that we are, rather than the unfeeling, unimaginative cyborgs that we are destined to be. Like many great works of science fiction, the poem warns of the future that will be if we do not change in the present.
A significant poetic device that the poet uses is repetition. The word "invent" is used at the beginning of every line, starting in the third stanza. It says, "The genre is dead. Invent something new." This implies that the genre of science fiction has nothing new being created; our lives have nothing new, or creative, or imaginative, or exciting in them. For the first time in the poem, rather than speaking of the present gloomy circumstances, the voice shifts, offering the reader new options to choose, new paths to take.
This poem makes many allusions and references to other stories. Here is a list of most of the references: -A reference to landing on the moon, which was also a science fiction plot point. -reference to how computers take over in science fiction novels -Biblical reference to how God created the world in 7 days; this also portrays us as the gods ourselves. -Muzak- elevator music -Adam and Eve -A child who will save the world is a classic plot for any novel. -Aeneas, who carried his father from the burning city of Troy. -Theseus and the Minotaur -Theseus and Ariadne- she helped him and he left her on an island; this could also be about Odysseus and how he left Calypso on her island -David killing a giant, Goliath -There are many girls who grow into trees in mythology. There is Daphne, who became a tree after being pursued by Apollo. There is also Myrrha, who was associated with Adonis and had intercourse with her father, becoming a myrrh tree as punishment or because the gods took pity on her when she begged for help. Leuce, or Leuka, a daughter of Oceanus, also became a white poplar tree when Hades pursued her. -Biblical reference: Lot's Wife looking back at Sodom and becoming a pillar of salt -A royal birthright being stolen is the plot of many history textbooks and novels.
Allusion is a highly important poetic device in this poem. The references made to the Bible, as well to Greek mythology and old stories, are presented as something new to be "invented," but that serves to show that we have moved far away from those times. They also provide a cultural background, showing how our modern culture is so complacent and unimaginative that we don't do so much as think about things like the stories that are alluded to in this poem. In addition, the writer makes allusions to our modern lives, such as how we always communicate through our technology, never putting it down to speak face-to-face.
This picture, used as the background, enhances the imagery, and theme of the poem. The third and fourth stanzas are about the old stories, of heroes, nobility, sacrifice, and human error. This image enhances the mystical sense of wonder that comes from reading those allusions, and it shows the discovery of a magical land, something that the theme of the poem asserts is, or will be, lost to us if we do not invent new, or old, stories to remind ourselves that we are human, despite our power and advancements in technology and medicine.
www.youtube.com Poetry Outloud is a contest that encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build ...
www.youtube.com On Wednesday, January 29, 2014, Santa Catalina held its third annual Poetry Out Loud competition — with the four winning participants from grades 9--12.
A poetic device used in this poem was extended metaphor. Throughout the poem, "we" are people, and we are also science fiction. Because we allow ourselves to die in spirit, and become computers, the "genre is [also] dead." This extended metaphor serves to liken us to the genre, telling us that we cannot let it die and helping to communicate the theme of the poem.